Can Facebook succeed in China?

Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks during a special event announcing a new Facebook email messaging system at the St. Regis Hotel on November 15, 2010 in San Francisco, California. Facebook will launch a new messaging system aimed at enhancing it's social media product to its 500 million users.

TEXT OF STORY

STEVE CHIOTAKIS: Mark Zuckerberg is in China meeting with all kinds of tech leaders there. Analysts say the trip signals Facebook's desire to re-enter the market. The social network's co-founder has said he thinks the company has to expand there. But what will he and Facebook need to do in order to succeed in China?

Marketplace's Steve Henn reports.


Steve Henn: More people use the Internet in China than live in the U.S. But if you look at a map of friendship networks on Facebook, China is one big black hole.

Facebook's co-founder Marc Zuckerberg says he'd love to change that. He's studying Chinese and "vacationing" there now. But analyst Lou Kerner at WedBush Securities says Facebook faces challenges.

Lou Kerner: First anybody who does business in China generally does it with a business partner. And then they've got to work with the appropriate government agencies.

To police user-generated content. And Kerner says that's just the beginning.

Kerner: Then they'll finally have to address the challenge of competing against very entrenched competitors.

The largest, Ren Ren, has 150 million users in China and is exploring an IPO in the U.S. early next year. But maybe Facebook and Ren Ren could still become friends.

In Silicon Valley, I'm Steve Henn for Marketplace.

About the author

Steve Henn was Marketplace’s technology and innovation reporter for the entire portfolio of Marketplace programs until December 2011.

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